Interior Painting / Drywall Texture Questions

My girlfriend and I are considering painting some rooms in my house, but we want it to look professional. Here are some of the problems we have:
There are various different textures, repairs, patches in the walls. In order to get the most consistent look, should I use an orbital sander on all of the wall area or try to add texture to repaired/ sanded areas to get them to match the surrounding texture? Please give any and all advice. Thanks.
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If the house was built after the mid 70's there won't be any lead paint on the walls so it'd be safe to sand. If earlier, it's not.
The best approach in such situations, and assuming that wall integrity is there and there are not large areas of loose plaster, etc., is to scrape some and skim coat the wall with joint compound. The joint compound can be tweaked to match the surrounding texture. There should be videos on YouTube about matching drywall texture to get you started in the right direction.
R
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The house was built in 81 and has tested negative for both lead and asbestos.
Are you saying I should try to match texture rather than sand everything? Sanding everything doesn't work?
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CoolWebs wrote:

sanding is incredibly messy, time consuming, and risks damaging the surface of the wall so that you have to skim coat it anyway.
it's be faster and easier to pay someone to skim coat the entire wall, putting on the texture that you want. it'll be cheaper for you to do this, but you'll want to do some practicing on some scrap wallboard to start with. there is a learning curve to getting it the way you want.
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If you use an orbital sander you will have dust everywhere- it will blow upstairs, downstairs, all over the place.
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CoolWebs wrote:

Don't use an orbital sander.
If you do use a powered sander, use one with a vacuum attachment and that uses the screen wire type sanding material.
I sanded down a 9x14' wall in order to mount a large mural (the mural needed a FLAT surface). Fortunately I had a wall sander that used sheet-rock texture sandpaper. When finished, there was enough dust in the vac to cover several acres.
If I were contemplating taking another wall down to the base just to retexture, I'd consider paneling.
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Everybody knows that any kind of sanding creates huge volumes of dust. But hardly anyone is aware that there are highly effective dust trapping tools in the market. The professional tools are fairly priced, but there is one outstanding rig that is a bargain for what it will do. Amazon and others sell the Magna Sand which goes between the included sanding pad and a shop vac. The sanding pad is held to the wall by the vacuum, making the sanding chore much easier. The dust is pulled through the sanding screen and trapped in the water filled Magna Sand pail. At the end of the day you have a couple gallons of water and many pounds of slurry. The slurry, if you are using regular drywall mud, is essentially pure gypsum, and if your have a nasty clay soil, perfect for improving your garden. The only negative is the foam produced by some kinds of drywall mix. The easy solution for this is a squirt of Pam cooking spray. I have used a Magna Sand for many years and saved many hours of cleanup and been able to do a much better job, particularly ceiling drywall work. With a Magna Sand you could skim coat and sand flat your most of your worst walls in a weekend. With drop cloths and plastic, the place would not be a mess after completion.
Joe
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Based on 45+ years of this type of stuff, I would recommend a very light sanding to remove the very highest points of the texture, and then use lightweight joint cement and a wide 9 - 12" putty knife to coat the entire walls. If you put on two thin coats and sand lightly in between, it will not be toooo bad a job. I would definitely put a fan blowing out in one or more windows of the room to create negative pressure in the room to prevent dust from migrating to other rooms. Your screens should be removed if they can be removed easily, otherwise they will build up a white powder very quickly. Hint - Bare feet clean off easier than any type of shoe wear and dry much faster.
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Go rent a Porter Cable Drywall Power Sander with Porter Cable Tool Activated Shop Vac...Any tool rental place will have one pretty cheap..Cover the floor where you will be working with plastic or drop cloths...Cover any near by stuff with plastic..Sand the wall with 100 grit sand paper or screen...It will get about 90% of the dust..Buy a 5 gallon bucket of USG All Purpose Joint Compound(Green lid)...Buy a 12" taping knife , 6 inch taping knife , and mud pan..Put some compound in the pan and add a LITTLE bit of water(a couple of tablespoons)..Mix it with you 6 inch knife..Coat the bad spots or patches that need extra attention..Repeat if necessary...Sand those areas with the power sander using 150 grit sandpaper or screen...Now skim coat the entire wall with joint compound mixing it like I already mentioned...Several LIGHT coats are better than 1 heavy coat...Scrape the wall with your 12" knife between coats...Sand the wall with the power sander using 150 grit..There is a trick to useing the Power Sander..Start on the slow setting till you get the hang of itThere will be a dial near the on/off switch that controlls the speed..NEVER stop..Hit the wall moving and remove it from the wall moving or you WILL leave a round swirl mark...It's pretty easy to get the hang of once you try it..Touch up any things you see after sanding...Sand touch ups with a piece of 150 grit sandpaper...Prime with drywall primer and apply 2 coats of paint or paint 2 coats with Behr or Glidden 2 in 1 Primer and paint All In One...This is for smooth walls...If you want texture than hire a pro...The learning curve is pretty steep to get it to look right...Texture is a PITA down the road as you already know as far as repairing...Good luck...
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Id say it also depends on what kind of look you want, how textured the existing finishes are, whether they match each other and look consistent, etc. If some rooms are just drywall with some patches that were not done right in a few areas, that can be easily fixed. Assuming they don't stand up very high and are sound, you can fix them by just using drywall mud over a larger area so that the taper is so slight in becomes unnoticeable. You may have to apply a couple coats, the being around the patch area, extending out maybe 6 inches, then after that dries, another lighter coat going out further, then sand. That's the basic process.
If you're trying to match existing textured walls that have repairs, that is more difficult. Might be better to have a pro do it. If you want to go from textured to smooth in a whole room, that's the most difficult. Again you may be able to skim coat it without sanding, but to skim coat a wall takes some skill. And the amount of work it will be and how good it looks depends on the skill. A skilled pro can do it in a fraction of the time it would take a first timer.
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Id say it also depends on what kind of look you want, how textured the existing finishes are, whether they match each other and look consistent, etc. If some rooms are just drywall with some patches that were not done right in a few areas, that can be easily fixed. Assuming they don't stand up very high and are sound, you can fix them by just using drywall mud over a larger area so that the taper is so slight in becomes unnoticeable. You may have to apply a couple coats, the being around the patch area, extending out maybe 6 inches, then after that dries, another lighter coat going out further, then sand. That's the basic process.
If you're trying to match existing textured walls that have repairs, that is more difficult. Might be better to have a pro do it. If you want to go from textured to smooth in a whole room, that's the most difficult. Again you may be able to skim coat it without sanding, but to skim coat a wall takes some skill. And the amount of work it will be and how good it looks depends on the skill. A skilled pro can do it in a fraction of the time it would take a first timer.
As with MOST everything a pro can do it in a fraction of the time but when you have more time than money it's time to learn...LOL..I ALWAYS try to steer my customers away from texture if possible...Having tried to match somebody elses work down the road a few years MANY times it's a PITA and costly for the customer..It NEVER looks quite right especially if the other walls have been painted a few times over the years...Texture looks good when first done BUT after filling nail holes and repairing damage and repainting a few times it looks like shit IMHO...YMMV...
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Dust control is all about negative air pressure in the room. An additional step that will help with any remaining dust is to put a fan in a window, blowing out, and to close off all other doorways and windows. That will keep whatever dust is airborne from permeating throughout the rest of the house.
R
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wrote:

Dust control is all about negative air pressure in the room. An additional step that will help with any remaining dust is to put a fan in a window, blowing out, and to close off all other doorways and windows. That will keep whatever dust is airborne from permeating throughout the rest of the house.
R
That had already been mentioned but it never hurts to say it again...
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